Sing House Studios strikes new chords with digital presence
For 20 years, Chantal Hackett, founder of Sing House Studios in Ottawa have inspired a generation of performers and musicians through bilingual lessons ranging from singing, piano and guitar to artist coaching, recording and management.
The business has been built on word of mouth, starting from a part-time gig, Hackett teaching one-to-one singing lessons from her mother’s living room, growing into an award-winning studio.
“We have a reputation in the community for being a good business,” says Hackett. “But a lot of people know us for the lessons and we really want(ed) to start marketing our birthday parties and our camps – we felt like digital tools would help with that.”
For Hackett, having a digital presence is the key to growth and COVID-19 only emphasized the important role digital plays in expanding those services. Hackett says the studio was quick to pivot during the pandemic, launching a virtual academy and offering video lessons over Zoom. “If we didn’t have Zoom or any of those tools, we wouldn’t have been able to survive.”
That pivot required a lot of effort. “It was definitely a challenge,” she says. “We had to research a lot on our own time and time that we all didn't have.”
But Sing House Studios recently got a boost from Digital Main Street, a program which combines grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future. Hackett was drawn to the combination of a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and digital training. “There are just so many tools and when you’re a business owner and you’ve got so many hats on, you don’t know which way to go,” says Hackett.
She says the training video series from Digital Main Street exposed her to a whole new way of thinking about her business and how she markets and presents it digitally.
The Digital Transformation Grant is helping her to put that knowledge into action. With part of the funding, Hackett is hiring a digital coach. “I've always wanted to learn how to be number one on Google ads… I see people do it, I find it fascinating and I research ways to do it but it just doesn't seem to work,” says Hackett. She’s also investing in marketing collateral including video and photography to revamp her online store.
The goal is to use the grant and her new knowledge base to raise the profile of Sing House Studio’s service offerings and drive more customers toward the events, camps and workshops side of the business, says Hackett.
Check out Sing House Studios here.
To learn more about how Digital Main Street can help your business, please visit here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Yellow Pages and Lightspeed.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.